Today, March 26th is Document Freedom Day (DFD). The whole computer industry (perhaps except from Microsoft and friends) focus on interoperability and open document formats this day.
This of course links nicely into the debate about whether ISO should adopt Microsoft’s fresh OOXML format which basically is an XML-ification of legacy MS-Office binary document formats, as international standards based on the ECMA draft document, or whether the industry is better suited cooperating on today’s ISO standard for office documents, the Open Document Format (ODF).
The discussion some times looks like a war, and Microsoft has spent a lot of energy (and money, some claim) the last months in persuading the national ISO bodies to vote for their format, so that they can claim to be standards compliant rather than being forced to implement ODF, which MS view as a serious threat to their solid MS-Office monopoly. This has been carefully created over the last decade, locking users into buying and upgrading their MS-Office software to be able to read the latest and greates .doc, .xml and .ppt files being sent from business partners and friends. Being forced to support ODF in MS-Office will mean the beginning of real competition on the Office-suite market since the major barrier for interoperability, the document format, is removed.
To learn more about free document formats and the Document Freedom Day, visit http://www.documentfreedom.org/